Author Topic: NCSoft Stockwatch  (Read 618092 times)

Kaiser Tarantula

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Re: NCSoft Stockwatch
« Reply #120 on: November 01, 2012, 05:59:35 AM »
Well then, the question is, how do we get this unethical-though-not-actually-fraudulent behavior into CNN or some other respectable news source's ears, and make them care enough to start digging into it?  If we can get them to put the thumbscrews to NCsoft, I could see some investors shying away from the company as a result.

Coupled with the glassdoor.com employee reports, straight-from-the-horse's-mouth bad press from ex-Paragon employees, customer testimonials from us, whatever complaints we can file with the BBB, and their history of shady activity re: the Tabula Rasa/Richard Garriott fiasco, it paints a very unflattering picture of NCsoft.  It would portray them as a company that is duplicitous, impulsive, pigheaded-if-not-outright-bigoted, unethical, and extremely poor at customer relations.  Definitely not a company I'd want to associate myself with as a stockholder, that's for sure.

And the best part about it, we're not exagerrating anything.

Ammon

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Re: NCSoft Stockwatch
« Reply #121 on: November 01, 2012, 06:38:21 AM »
Alas, no, except in that we need a MUCH higher level of visibility than we have.  I don't think it's out of the question to actually get it, but the odds are not in our favor, and NCSoft would have to be caught doing something seriously illegal.
I'm not so sure.  Sometimes being caught doing something unethical that is legal but stinks, is worse than being caught and punished for something illegal.  With an illegal act, we kind of believe the courts and system will deal with it.  With something unethical and stinky that a company can expect to get away with, we all know it is up to us to bring about a change, and to make the transition from what is legal, to what is just.

In addition to that, suspicion and rumour are often worse left unaddressed than an actual guilty verdict.  A widespread suspicion is far more damaging than a legal judgement which people can believe has settled the matter.

At this time, the main suspicions we have are several:

1.  That NCsoft are not serving customer interests at all as they should (the most successful game ever closed) where the game was not making a loss and the motive is believed to be for more profit - forcing players to have to buy another game of some kind that they can make more money on, even though it is not a comparable product.  (Minor, but still somewhat disgusting and questionable and worthy of debate).

2. That NCsoft are failing to do their jobs properly in serving shareholder interests, causing masses of expensive negative opinion that was unnecessary and thoughtless, and flat out incompetent.  More importantly, once it becomes apparent that closing CoH is more expensive than they'd believed, not changing their business plans to adapt out of pride, or stubbornness would be a failure of legal responsibility to look after shareholder interests.

3.  That NCsoft are a company committed (and convicted of) continued use of deception and outright lies to promote their business interests.  Not just spin, but the claims that Garriott had resigned, for instance, or that they had "exhausted all possibilities" to find alternative solutions to closing Paragon and CoH with the minimum possible notice, are both outright lies.  False claims made for profit.  False advertising, false marketing, and deceptive business practices are something we know are not technically legal, but that we all know happen often.  Have NCsoft actually crossed a line with just how far they have gone?  Well, in the Garriott case, yes, without doubt.  In the CoH case ... we can't know without knowing just how much money their lies are enabling.  I think we have enough suspicion here to demand an investigation, at least.

These are just 3 obvious causes of suspicion and distrust, but all three are valid, and each feeds the other.  I'm certain if we were to dig we would find out more.

Kaiser Tarantula

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Re: NCSoft Stockwatch
« Reply #122 on: November 01, 2012, 06:47:59 AM »
One of the problems I've noticed is that most coverage of NCsoft has been very... piecemeal.  An issue here, a problem there, but nothing that wholesale addresses the history, and indeed the pattern of duplicitous behavior that NCsoft has displayed.  All companies have their small problems here and there, it's a necessary evil of doing business this day and age.  But NCsoft has a disturbing trend here that I don't think media watchdogs or investors are aware of.

If we can get some prime page space on a major news outlet, I think we should try to bust NC's chops across the board.  Lay out the whole spread of failure starting from Tabula Rasa to today.  State, repeat, and emphasize that NC has not only engaged in unethical business practices, but done so repeatedly, towards its customers, employees, associates, and investors alike.  With particular regard to shareholders, we need to make the point that any investment in NCsoft is a risky venture at best.  At worst, it's a case of throwing your money down the crapper.

If we could get them in legal hot water, that would be great, but it's not strictly necessary.  If we can get their investors worried, or scare them enough that they pull out for fear of losing their investments, that would be sufficient to get NCsoft to take us seriously.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2012, 06:53:48 AM by Kaiser Tarantula »

Mentalshock

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Re: NCSoft Stockwatch
« Reply #123 on: November 01, 2012, 07:02:59 AM »
Funny, I thought more or less plotting the downfall of an entire corporation would bother my sense of ethics. 

   But then I remembered that my own code of ethics leans more to the Deontological side of things.   That sort of ethics is best described as 'duty' based.    Therefore, defending what is important to me is certainly a worthy duty.

   So, no issue here.

    It just kinda strikes me as funny, to a degree.

Kaiser Tarantula

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Re: NCSoft Stockwatch
« Reply #124 on: November 01, 2012, 07:15:18 AM »
Funny, I thought more or less plotting the downfall of an entire corporation would bother my sense of ethics.
Well, it's kinda like plotting the downfall of an evil empire.  Your sense of ethics wouldn't be bothered if someone kicked Lord Recluse out of the Rogue Isles and turned the place into a haven of civil liberty under the rule of just laws, would you?  Same idea, different target.

We want NCsoft to relinquish CoH to a sufficient degree that someone else can manage it more responsibly.  Until then, we must continually give their PR department fits and reveal the terrifying truth to their shareholders.  This must continue until NC's willing to relent and play ball, or they collapse under the weight of their own unethical behavior.

Either way, I'd be content.

Mentalshock

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Re: NCSoft Stockwatch
« Reply #125 on: November 01, 2012, 07:22:15 AM »
Well, it's kinda like plotting the downfall of an evil empire.  Your sense of ethics wouldn't be bothered if someone kicked Lord Recluse out of the Rogue Isles and turned the place into a haven of civil liberty under the rule of just laws, would you?  Same idea, different target.

We want NCsoft to relinquish CoH to a sufficient degree that someone else can manage it more responsibly.  Until then, we must continually give their PR department fits and reveal the terrifying truth to their shareholders.  This must continue until NC's willing to relent and play ball, or they collapse under the weight of their own unethical behavior.

Either way, I'd be content.

I think my problem stems from trying to be Lawful Good in a Chaotic Neutral world.

Kaiser Tarantula

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Re: NCSoft Stockwatch
« Reply #126 on: November 01, 2012, 08:08:13 AM »
I think my problem stems from trying to be Lawful Good in a Chaotic Neutral world.
Look at this guy, calling that a problem.  That's a good joke there, Mentalshock.

Being a better person than the world around you, and trying to make that world a better place as a result, is kinda what being a hero is all about.

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Mentalshock

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Re: NCSoft Stockwatch
« Reply #127 on: November 01, 2012, 08:21:22 AM »
Heh, it's only a problem if you worry too much about it.

Segev

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Re: NCSoft Stockwatch
« Reply #128 on: November 01, 2012, 01:15:33 PM »
I want to caution people here: I've seen at least one post that nobody's questioned state that NCSoft values their entire MMO IP collection at around $3M US (which we do have confirmation of, so that's not the problem), but tells its stockholders that individual MMO IPs are worth $80M US (which, to my knowledge, is merely the result of mass speculation on our part, not something we have hard numbers to back up).

We do have their quarterly report to stockholders...but I don't recall seeing IPs valued in the tens of millions on it. I could be misremembering, but before we make any serious efforts to "point this little tidbit out," we had best make DARN sure we can hand our sources for this "tidbit" to CNN/NBC/CBS/FOX/ABC/NPR/PBS/NYT/WSJ/whoever. We needn't have incontrovertible proof, but we need something more than "what if..." to give them. If there's a scent of possible malarkey, then the news agencies will be able to dig and fact check and maybe find real dirt even if we're WRONG. If we just tell them "we think..." though, they'll shrug because, really, they have better things to do than pursue a witch hunt against a foreign company that makes silly video games. Like pursuing witch hunts against domestic politicians!

malonkey1

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Re: NCSoft Stockwatch
« Reply #129 on: November 01, 2012, 01:59:14 PM »
I think my problem stems from trying to be Lawful Good in a Chaotic Neutral world.

Psh. Chaotic Goods like me have all the fun, you know. Robin Hood, Oracle, Merlin...I'm in good company.
BadWolf: "The point that JaguarX is trying to make, of course, is that City of Heroes is like a tree. And Google is like a Toyota...Corolla...? Which would make NCSoft a trespasser, shot by...um, Mister T...which is good, because diplomacy...?"

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Segev

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Re: NCSoft Stockwatch
« Reply #130 on: November 01, 2012, 02:01:52 PM »
Psh. Chaotic Goods like me have all the fun, you know. Robin Hood, Oracle, Merlin...I'm in good company.
Me, I strive for Neutral Good. I'm not sure how well I succeed. I know my image tends to be more "Comically Evil," but hey.

DrakeGrimm

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Re: NCSoft Stockwatch
« Reply #131 on: November 01, 2012, 02:26:47 PM »
There are benefits to being Lawful Evil like I am. <.< >.>
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Codewalker

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Re: NCSoft Stockwatch
« Reply #132 on: November 01, 2012, 02:29:31 PM »
Well now, you have to remember that what is LEGAL and what is INTERESTING are two different things.  For instance, apparently it is not fraudulent for NCSoft to value all their IPs together at about $3m for tax purposes, yet tell their stockholders that CoH itself is worth $80m.  It's not fraudulent...but it's not ethical, and I bet their stockholders don't know that little tidbit of information.  And that is the sort of thing they would find very difficult to explain to a CNN business reporter.

Intangibles are a tricky thing, and I almost regret posting that, because it can be easily taken out of context or misunderstood.

Standard accounting practice is to value things like Intellectual Property very literally -- the balance in the account is not how much it's actually worth, but how much the company has spent to acquire it. So if you create something from scratch, it's IP value on your books is zero, because you didn't  actually buy it form anyone. Things like salaries don't go in there either; those are operating expenses. The only time you'd increase the amount reported there is when you buy an IP outright from someone, or purchase a company for their IPs.

Intangibles are not usually revalued until you sell them. So if you buy "City of Gyros" from GreekWorks, Inc. for $5000, then turn it into a national franchise with hundreds of stores doing billions of dollars of business a year, the trademarks and everything are still reported as being worth $5000 on your books. Only when you turn around and sell it to McMonster Corp for $20 million does that value change.

US GAAP actually forbids revaluing intangibles because of the potential for abuse. I don't know enough about K-GAAP to know what it says. I do know that NCSoft switched from that to the international accounting standard IFRS last year, which does allow revaluing intangibles under some circumstances. In practice most companies still don't, because it's a lot of hassle and is very difficult to accurately value something like that until you have a buyer on the line who's willing to part with cash for it.

The only reason I mentioned it at all is because in theory at least, what NCSoft paid for the City of Heroes IP from Cryptic should be included in that account. I wanted it to be available as a point of reference, and it shouldn't be taken as a measure of what that property is worth today.

TL;DR: It's not fraudulent for the IP to be undervalued on their books, and might be legally required depending on what standard they're operating under. There's a lot of instances of NCSoft being deceptive but that isn't one of them.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2012, 03:27:00 PM by Codewalker »

Codewalker

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Re: NCSoft Stockwatch
« Reply #133 on: November 01, 2012, 02:35:19 PM »
I almost forgot, even after all of that, I definitely think $80 million is an absurd asking price for it, regardless of any other factor.

dwturducken

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Re: NCSoft Stockwatch
« Reply #134 on: November 01, 2012, 02:40:19 PM »
- the balance in the acocunt is not how much it's actually worth

My brain made this "the balance in the coconut." :)

So, we can acknowledge a semantic difference between "value" and "worth," since NC Soft could be claiming a worth to investors based on attached assets and revenue? I'm not saying it's legal/illegal or ethical/unethical. That's never stopped a corporation from doing something. However, we don't need anything probative, just damning, in order to affect their image and stock prices.
I wouldn't use the word "replace," but there's no word for "take over for you and make everything better almost immediately," so we just say "replace."

Segev

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Re: NCSoft Stockwatch
« Reply #135 on: November 01, 2012, 02:44:49 PM »
My brain made this "the balance in the coconut." :)

So, we can acknowledge a semantic difference between "value" and "worth," since NC Soft could be claiming a worth to investors based on attached assets and revenue? I'm not saying it's legal/illegal or ethical/unethical. That's never stopped a corporation from doing something. However, we don't need anything probative, just damning, in order to affect their image and stock prices.
False, actually. Corporations are very much stopped by what's illegal. It costs a lot of money to cover things up and deal with problems that might come to light, so they generally try to follow the letter of the law (and spend a great deal of money doing it), because it's cheaper in the long run. While there ARE people who will break the law - and corporations are just groups of people acting under a unified name - generally speaking, it is incorrect to state that legality doesn't ever factor in to a corporation's decision-making process.

Rotten Luck

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Re: NCSoft Stockwatch
« Reply #136 on: November 01, 2012, 02:46:42 PM »
Is there a None of thee above... or All of thee above option?

It seems based on a Dungeons and Dragons Alignment test I'm in truth Lawful Neutral.  Lawful neutral character acts as law, tradition, or a personal code directs her. Order and organization are paramount to her. She may believe in personal order and live by a code or standard, or she may believe in order for all and favor a strong, organized government. The common phrase for lawful neutral is "true lawful." Lawful neutral is the best alignment you can be because it means you are reliable and honorable without being a zealot.

Guess that's true I do follow my own Personal code more then Law and Tradition.  So given that anyone up for some Gunpowder fireworks?  I say a good place is under the NCsoft building!  MAH HA HA HA.
One way or another... Heroes will fly again!

dwturducken

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Re: NCSoft Stockwatch
« Reply #137 on: November 01, 2012, 03:01:09 PM »
OK, ya got me. I was just browsing through in distracting myself from homework and didn't really think through what I was trying to say. :)

What we see these days, at least in the US, is a trend toward corporations finding it more economical to pay the lawyers than the technicians and engineers, in a sense.  I know that comes from the public and media finding the stories of corporate shenanigans "sexier" than the ones about corporations behaving, so it's not a truly accurate perception, but it's not patently false.  However, since the public perception is there, perhaps it's something we can use.

And, nice Dwight Schrute impression, BTW. ;)
I wouldn't use the word "replace," but there's no word for "take over for you and make everything better almost immediately," so we just say "replace."

Codewalker

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Re: NCSoft Stockwatch
« Reply #138 on: November 01, 2012, 03:34:12 PM »
Lawful neutral is the best alignment you can be because it means you are reliable and honorable without being a zealot.

I'm not so sure I'd consider it the best alignment. To me, Lawful Neutral means "blindly does what the law says without considering the ramifications of those actions and whether it's morally and ethically right."

Remember the law is made by humans and is subject to the same faults as the people who wrote it. Just because someone is in a position of authority doesn't mean that they deserve it. Lawful neutral characters in D&D are excellent cannon fodder for lawful evil to use for their purposes.

malonkey1

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Re: NCSoft Stockwatch
« Reply #139 on: November 01, 2012, 03:40:59 PM »
I'm not so sure I'd consider it the best alignment. To me, Lawful Neutral means "blindly does what the law says without considering the ramifications of those actions and whether it's morally and ethically right."

Well, technically, that's Lawful Stupid. An alignment isn't a 100% thing. Some lawful people break the letter of the law in order to maintain the spirit of that law, for example.
BadWolf: "The point that JaguarX is trying to make, of course, is that City of Heroes is like a tree. And Google is like a Toyota...Corolla...? Which would make NCSoft a trespasser, shot by...um, Mister T...which is good, because diplomacy...?"

The internet is full of Comedy Gold.